Sept. 17 (Bloomberg) -- Gold may rise to $950 an ounce by the end of year as central banks and miners hold back sales and investors buy the metal as a haven against falling stock prices, London-based researcher GFMS Ltd. said.
Central bank sales will drop 46 percent in 2008, while mine supply will decline for a third year, a GFMS report showed today. Demand from investors worldwide will soar 38 percent to 778 metric tons, with purchases in east Asia more than doubling.
``We're expecting gold to stage a powerful rally in the fourth quarter,'' GFMS Chairman Philip Klapwijk said at a conference in London today. There will be ``significant declines in stocks, which compete with gold.''
Gold for immediate delivery rose 0.3 percent to $782.25 an ounce as of 2 p.m. in London.
Prices have dropped 6.2 percent this year, heading for the first annual drop in eight as dollar gains erode demand for the metal as an alternative to the U.S. currency and investors sell commodities to raise cash and cover losses in other markets.
``People are liquidating assets and trying to raise cash,'' Klapwijk said. ``Once the dust settles, we will see some allocation back into gold, and gold will benefit.''
The metal rose 5.4 percent on Sept. 12 and Sept. 15 as investors sought a haven from market turmoil after Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. filed for bankruptcy protection.
Vietnam's net investment demand was 71 tons in the first half, surpassing India as the world's largest market. Investors in Vietnam sought gold to hedge against inflation, falling equities and a drop in the value of their currency, GFMS said.
Global mine production will drop 2.3 percent this year to 2,422 tons, the lowest since 1996. Recycled metal output will rise 9.3 percent, it said. South Africa, the world's second- biggest gold producer, reported a 16 percent decline in production in July from a year earlier.
Gold purchases by jewelers will rebound in the second half this year, rising 6 percent from a year earlier to 1,184 tons and accounting for 64 percent of total demand, GFMS said.
Annual jewelry demand will fall 9.9 percent to 2,164 tons, led by a 16 percent drop in North America and 15 percent decline in the Indian subcontinent, according to the report. The only market to show growth will be in the former Soviet states.